How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask David Akiva Your Own Question

David Akiva
David Akiva, BA, MA,
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 167
Experience:  Counselor; Behavioral Consultant
57833540
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
David Akiva is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Hi, Ive been married to husband for 2 yrs in may and weve

Resolved Question:

Hi, I've been married to husband for 2 yrs in may and we've been together 5 years in total, i love him more than anything and i know i want to stay with him in the good & bad times but at xmas he cheated, then arguements started and then recently this month we've been apart, he went home and i stayed in our house as he said he needed space and was the one who wanted to go.

I am one for pushing and i pushed to try and find out what all of this was about as i forgave the cheating and he says thats not what is eatting him up, he says its where his bottled so many things up over a period of time his exploded, i know my faults and i don't like them, he says they have been eatting away at him until there is nothing left of him and these things like me always asking him whats wrong and telling how he should think or should behave,he feels 2nd rate to me and that his an after thought, he never once told me when i was doing it and if he had i am sure i would have realised and stopped but i know i have to change this and i know i can and want to but he won't seem to believe me and seems to have closed himself of, so his in a save box and doesn't want to come out.

We've spoken with friends and family and they have all said the same that we seemed such a happy couple and that its to early to throw the towel in, as these things are here to make us stronger but his just so negative all of the time! he says he knows what he should do but doesn't know thats what he wants to do! I've said to him were married and can't just walk away we have to try and he says he doesn't know if he wants to try!

In the time he was at his parents he was just going to work, coming home watching TV and going to bed and kind of blocking it all out, i see this as not facing up to the issue. he says he hadn't really hurt or missed me while we've been apart and the time apart just seems to make things worse and us more seperate, but he won't even consider living back in the house with me in the spare room as he seems scared.

he says things like we are just pro-longing what we know will happen so whats the point and i try and convince him of positive things but his just so negative and when i think theres a glimmer of hope and he says whats a way forward and i say we work togther in small steps to get us back he runs back and says he doesn't know what he wants!!

I've now moved out to my mums so he can go back to our home as i hope the home we have might remind him of me more than his parents spare room. I said we could try dinner 2 or 3 times this week but his only doing it because i won't really accept anything else as i know we can get back and it will a tough journey but marriage is something that has to be worked on.

I'm 28 and his 29 and we have no kids, he does worry about lots of things but i don't what to do toi make him see a positive and move forward slightly and to show we can make it through this. He won't come to counselling so i thought this might help me.

Hope this gives enough information
Mrs C
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  David Akiva replied 3 years ago.

Therapist :

Hello. Thank you for bringing your question to JA.com. You've provided some very helpful and detailed information here. I feel I have a strong sense of your situation but I'm not clear on your question. Do you mind giving me a sense of what specific question you have related to the very clear situational details you've provided?

Customer:

Hello, I don't know what to do to move forward with my situation to stop divorce, my husband seems scared of trying like his locked himself away in a safe box. sometimes its like his scared of me or his so guilty of hurting me but i keep reassuring him that the hurt will be worth it if we survive this and spend yrs of happiness together but he says he can't even think of 40 years with me!

Therapist :

Thank you very much. So your asking for suggestions and strategies for saving your marriage from divorce. Is that correct?

Customer:

yes

Therapist :

Alright. Well to get started, in my experience working with highly distressed and emotionally disconnected couples it's a question of re-pairing emotional injuries at the "attachment level."

Therapist :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrKME6y2ZOM

Customer:

he is very closed of from any ideas and the only way is when i oush so hard he gives in or when i'm crying and very upset!

Therapist :

Well that's a good sign because it means that he loves you and is affected on a deep emotional level. What gets in the way of reconnecting in less intense situations to your crying is chronically unmet core-relationship needs.

Therapist :

Was your communication prior to separation characterized by criticism-defense and "stonewalling" or shutting down on one or both of your parts?

Therapist :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbJPaQY_1dc

Therapist :

You'll notice I'm adding links for educational purposes. Please take your t

Therapist :

time to review and consider your responses

Customer:

yes he has shut down and doesn't say much else than he needs space. i made him tell me the parts he didn't like about me and tahts when it came out that iput him down and make him feel 2nd rate and tell him how he should run his life.

Therapist :

What did he tell you he didn't like?

Customer:

he said i'm not as self obsessed as he thought i was when he saw me break down over this and cry as his always seen me as strong and not someone who crys in front of him, he thought i would talk and cry in private so i think this confused him, as everytime i see him i break down and cry as i feel like someone is ripping my heart out. He said i'm selfish and his an after thought, i care more about my friends and family, i'm always asking him what his thinking and his not making enough effort, i tell him how to think, what to think and how to behave, I speak down tohim in front of people, giving gifts was an after thought for not ebing there, not acting like a wife (as i didn't want to change my name) and i found it hard accepting marriage. i make him feel 2nd rate like his job isn't important

Therapist :

So you're husband is "stonewalling" unless he really see's you distressed, which probably pushes him away as well because it's so hard to deal with.

Therapist :

I am really sorry you both have to go through this right now.

Customer:

yes i guess he is as we just go round in circles, he hasn't ever said thats it, its over but i feel people are pushing him and he will do this. he just says he doesn't know what he wants but doesn't want to go back to what we had become

Customer:

i keep trying to tell him it won't but he just won't see past my words

Customer:

he does break down and cry when he sees me cry

Therapist :

Ok. So again there is still a spark in there to work with and expand. In every case of extreme marital distress and crisis I have worked with over the years towards re-stabilization, the criticism, defense and stonewalling are always expressions of un-expressed and thus, un-met core relationship needs.

Therapist :

Actually, let me rephrase. The stonewalling and critisism-defense are actually very poor expressions of the underling unmet needs.

Therapist :

My next question becomes what are these needs on his and your part?

Therapist :

What is he not getting that has shut him down and frustrated him so deeply, that he doesn't know if he can trust any kind of re-connection and improvement process?

Therapist :

If you can find out what his top 1 or 2 relationship needs are, you can come up with a plan to meet them for him. Ideally he would do the same to make the corrective process easier and easier for you both.

Customer:

I don't know! if i ask him what he wants he says he doesn't know, i even try the game of happy times and things he did like about us when we were happy and he says he misses US when we used to go out and do stuff and he now feels we've become house mates not husband and wife

Therapist :

Those are very normal statements for someone who has shutdown or is stonewalling. It's particularly difficult for men who are not trained or socialized to communicate feelings and relationship needs effectively. Let me make some suggestions here for how you might be able to get to these needs definitions:

Customer:

I want to help him and us and i am hopefully seeing him tomorrow and i am going to ask the questions what is his top 1 or 2 needs from me as his wife or maybe were they ?

Therapist :

One moment please.

Customer:

ok

Customer:

before you give me the suggestions i thought its best to say that he doesn't make much contact with me, i txt today after yesterdays ongoings to ask how he is and I haven't had a reply (5hrs on) but i am going to try and call him tonight as he is moving back to our house, even if its just a 2 minute convo as txting can make things worse (well me for me) his also very closed down as you say "stonewalling"

Therapist :

That's consistent with stonewalling. He's protecting himself from the marital distress from chronically unmet needs...

Customer:

how do i find the unmet needs out and make him come out of the safe box his built!

Therapist :

I'm just putting together some suggestions. I'll be back in 5 minutes. Have you had a chance to look at the videos I linked..

Customer:

yes i've had a look at them and will look at them again later with my mum, i'm now looking up stonewalling so i understand it more

Therapist :

Excellent. I also wanted to ask you what gets in the way of counseling? If you go to evidence-based marital therapy together you could really gain a lot here. I'm not affiliated or marketing anything. I just think that to save your marriage your going to have to establish positive behavioral momentum, that means mutual needs meeting and effective communication to this end. Again what's getting in the way of your husband attending counseling with you?

Customer:

He just won't go! i have asked and he says no. i have asked why and he just cages in.

Therapist :

Would he be willing to go not for "marriage counseling" but to help you deal with the separation?

Therapist :

Many men are afraid that they will get "ganged up on" in counseling.

Customer:

No,he might think about that as i said i was going to have counselling and said maybe he could come with me and he said maybe but nothing more than that

Customer:

i think he feels likes that anyway as everyone is saying he should try and his said he knows what he should do but my mum said that means opening himself up to get hurt again if he trys!

Customer:

he thinks it will just go back to being bad and i keep saying maybe it will go back to whn we were happy or maybe even better than when we were happy. I have a positive for every negative

Therapist :

Well, I'm going to provide some science-based communication strategies, but if you can get to evidence-based marital therapy you could very likely get some lasting positive results (save/transform your marriage) in as little as 7 sessions. This is the best marital therapy in the world. I think you're mother's right, but if you could get him to just one session of EFT marital therapy I think he'd start to feel very comfortable very quickly:

Therapist :

http://www.iceeft.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=47&Itemid=79

Therapist :

Here's a good slide show you can expand to full screen and watch that explains how it works and why:

Therapist :

http://www.powershow.com/view/1c7eeb-NWQyY/Emotionally_Focused_Therapy

Therapist :

Here are some steps for gently trying to find out what you're husband really needs from you:

Therapist :

1) Scale the relationship with him if you can. That means find out how he would rate it on a scale of 1 to 10

Therapist :

10 means "we are really in trouble emotionally"

Therapist :

1 means it's wonderful like it used to be when you would go out and have fun together

Therapist :

Actually reverse that please 10 is the best and 1 is distressed...

Therapist :

2) When you get a relationship number say 3 or 4, start to ask open-ended questions about what stops you getting the number up closer to 10.

Therapist :

Open ended questions can't be answered with a simple yes or no answer. They usually start with a how, why or when etc

Therapist :

You want to keep gently asking questions, with no criticism of any kind to further clarify the need to the point where you have action-steps you can follow, a plan to get the underling need met.

Therapist :

If you see he is distressed emotionally, stop asking questions, if he gets upset he wouldn't be able to answer intelligibly. This is where you're focus becomes soothing, helping him to relax or to calm, a back rub or a break are examples.

Customer:

do i ask him first what his needs are from me as a wife or maybe what he would want them to be and then the rating of the relationship followed by open ended questions

Therapist :

I would start by scaling the relationship first. When you have a number like say 5 or 6 or 3 you then have a "gap" to analyze.

Therapist :

What's getting in the way of achieving a higher number. You can then clarify as you go with open ended questions.

Customer:

even with open ended questions he will often answer don't know before giving it a go at answering!

Therapist :

Well if you are unable to get responses gently. Then apart from a highly trained (I would recommend EFT) therapist it can be very difficult. Ideally, on his part, he would learn basic marital communication strategies as well. Another or complementary approach would be to read one of 2 evidence-based marital communication books together. Would he be open to regular date nights where you read to each other for 30 minutes and ask highly targeted questions designed to help couples who are stuck?

Customer:

he might do that as we did start doing a date night once a month when difficult times at xmas plus he used to always read to me before bed or when on holiday as he knows i liked it!!! so maybe

Therapist :

Sorry my screen shifted here to another screen I'm back though!

Therapist :

So you have a positive relationship history of reading together? Excellent

Therapist :

I think if you could really set up a relaxing home date night for reading no strings attached that would be wonderful.

Therapist :

Where and when would you read together?

Customer:

yes i guess, it might be a starting ground. well i am hopefully seeing him tomorrow so i can try and suggest this then in someway. It would mean going to our home, having dinner and general chat and then reading and seeing if that helps us in anyway

Therapist :

As he learns to feel save and sees the incredible benefits of a strong healthy marriage he may then be willing to attend 7 therapy sessions if they are still indicated...

Therapist :

Yes, I'd keep the relationship talk to a minimum except through the reading which will guide you very gently with questions. I'd also do everything you can to make the time before and after reading very relaxing and basically enjoyable.

Customer:

he does say i am easy to be around and relaxing so hopefully it would work. so what books are they??

Therapist :

You could make a list of things you know he'd like to eat or ways to relax together. From a behavioral perspective, the more reinforcing being with you is the more he will want to be with you. I just read your last post, so you may not need to make a list.

Therapist :

Here's the book I'd recommend starting with:

Therapist :

http://www.holdmetight.net

Customer:

thank you

Therapist :

Most of John Gottman's books are very good as well. I'd stay away from popular books that are not rooted in strong relationship science like "men are from mars" etc

Customer:

I suggested yesterday when i was leaving that we have dinner together which he agreed with and when he said yes i asked who would cook tomorrow and he said he would..... maybe i should see this as a positive in small way

Therapist :

http://gottman.com/57329/Books-DVDs-and-Workshops.html

Therapist :

Yes build on those positives where ever you can. The behavioral principal you can apply here is called "the premack principal" and is widely applied in behavioral couples therapy:

Therapist :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Premack%27s_principle

Customer:

ok thank you. is the book hard going or easy???

Therapist :

No, "Hold me Tight" is very easy to read and actually has a structured conversation built in to it based on EFT marital therapy.

Customer:

ok i will suggest it, i will also try the rating of the relationship and open questions to see how we can get it up to a better mark. his such a kind, caring and loving person i want to show him i can help us and so can he.

Customer:

my only worry is the longer were apart the more he seems to say negative things. if he was 60% unhappy before his 80% unhappy now and sure it can't be finxed

Customer:

fixed*

Therapist :

Well if you focus on keeping things positive at first, and try to be mindful of your own emotional distress and calm yourself when you you do become distressed, it will be easier and easier for him to come to you and to open up.

Therapist :

Do you see any other obstacles getting in the way of this strategy?

Therapist :

Successive approximations or babe steps are needed here.

Customer:

i think my first hurdle is to get him to even find willingness to look at trying! as at the moment he doesn't want or think he can try

Therapist :

Being able to self induce relaxation is another high leverage tool for communicating effectively under emotional stressful conditions, it allows you to stay sharp and on task

Therapist :

http://vcc.asu.edu/relax/index.shtml

Customer:

i'm very impatient in general but add my fear to that and i panic i will lose him! but we have both said in the past small little steps and i try but i need something to hold on to like a future dat... as if i just sit wondering i panic

Therapist :

Well, babe steps, just get to dinner and keep it as positive as possible at first. Let the book do the initial relationship work. Once he learns about what is possible and how to start to open up you can work more systematically at communication. This way it's the book and not you. I think you're calm will have a remarkable positive affect on your efforts here. Relaxation training is like learning to drive a car, but I would really add this to your strategy, - maybe share it with your husband eventually.

Therapist :

Massage can be a shared soothing strategy as well, but I'd start with the dinners and the book with no strings attached an really learning and evolving your relationship repair strategy and skills development process.

Customer:

so do u mean i should try and not cry

Therapist :

Well when you read the book together at first it may be that you cry. But the book like t

Therapist :

EFT therapy will protect you from crying at the wrong time

Therapist :

Tender emotions are good. Reactive emotions to hurt, like self protective anger lead to criticism and stonewalling and breakdown...

Customer:

ok but i won't have the book tomorrow when i see him! so i have to go in on my own and i don't want to pretend or avoid the convo about us!!!

Therapist :

You want to open up your tender emotions and his but in a way that makes you want to naturally soothe and protect each other from heart not aggressively defend yourselves and shut down from secondary or reactive emotions.

Customer:

ok well i guess all i can do is go in and hope we can just have a meal without talking about all of the heartache and pain. i wish i could wave a magic wand and make it all better, i just want to try and get him thinking positively or at leave willingly

Therapist :

Well I think you're on the right track. Is there anything else I can help you with today?

Customer:

no that is all, i am going to call him tonight as he did text me back saying sorry for the delay and that he had been ok and how was i... but i want to change the way we communicate as textin isn't helping!!! so maybe a phone call might. thank you for the advise and help

Customer:

can i save our convo so i can go back to it?

Therapist :

Yes you can definitely come back and our exchange will be here. You can also copy and past it to a word document as well to save having to log in etc.

Therapist :

There's one other thing I want to add, one moment please:

Therapist :

Back to the positive reinforcement and Premack's principal. Please try to get into the habit of looking for "positives" in your increasing exchanges and get together with your husband. There is actually a 1 to 5 formula that is predictive of relationship repair and maintenance over time. That's 5 positive or support comments for every 1 negative comment. I have seen this really make a difference in saving couples in crisis in my private practice. It's about increasing complements and positive evaluative statements, but making sure they are genuine because you are really looking for the positive in your husband and his actions.

Therapist :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xw9SE315GtA

Therapist :

Ok, well I think I've shared enough info to keep you going for a while. Please don't forget to press the "Accept" button if you are satisfied with my very long answer to your question (hope it wasn't too long). I'd also value your short positive feedback statement at sign out in keeping with the Premack's principal! - lol

Therapist :

I wish you and your husband the very best!

Customer:

thank you, XXXXX XXXXX come back on here again will i talk to you or someone who will know my situ? if i press accept am i then charged £26?

Therapist :

Yes, you will be charged the what I see here as 36.35 USD one time. And yes, you can see my mini profile and ask for me in the text of your next question if you have one. My first name isXXXXX review questions I go to the one's with my name in them first. I check the question list here every day between or after counseling clients. I'd be glad to answer future questions should they come up.

Customer:

ok thank you, XXXXX XXXXX let you know how i get on as i feel i will need more help. thank you

David Akiva, BA, MA,
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 167
Experience: Counselor; Behavioral Consultant
David Akiva and 3 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
< Last | Next >
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
  • I thank-you so much! It really helped to have this information and confirmation. We will watch her carefully and get her in for the examination and US right away if things do not improve. God bless you as well! Claudia Albuquerque, NM
  • Outstanding response time less than 6 minutes. Answered the question professionally and with a great deal of compassion. Kevin Beaverton, OR
  • Suggested diagnosis was what I hoped and will take this info to my doctor's appointment next week.
    I feel better already! Thank you.
    Elanor Tracy, CA
  • Thank you to the Physician who answered my question today. The answer was far more informative than what I got from the Physicians I saw in person for my problem. Julie Lockesburg, AR
  • You have been more help than you know. I seriously don't know what my sisters situation would be today if you had not gone above and beyond just answering my questions. John and Stefanie Tucson, AZ
  • I have been dealing with an extremely serious health crisis for over three years, and one your physicians asked me more questions, gave me more answers and encouragement than a dozen different doctors who have been treating me!! Janet V Phoenix, AZ
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Keane

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1262
    Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/Dr.Keane/2013-8-20_204325_drkeane.64x64.jpg Dr. Keane's Avatar

    Dr. Keane

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1262
    Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RE/resolutions66/2011-1-17_05728_IMG8202smilingeditedforJustAnswer.64x64.jpg Elliott, LPCC, NCC's Avatar

    Elliott, LPCC, NCC

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    5024
    35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/formybunch/2010-12-06_191055_img_0975.jpg Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC's Avatar

    Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    3733
    Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/DrAkiraOlsen/2012-2-20_746_AkiraADpicmain.64x64.jpg Dr. Olsen's Avatar

    Dr. Olsen

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2336
    PsyD Psychologist
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/norriem/2009-5-27_134249_nm.jpg Norman M.'s Avatar

    Norman M.

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2193
    UK trained in hypnotherapy, counselling and psychotherapy and have been in private practice. ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), UKCP Registered and ECP.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PsychologyProf/2010-07-15_171248_logos060400409.jpg Dr. Michael's Avatar

    Dr. Michael

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2177
    Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/KURTEMMERLING/2010-07-23_215531_just_ask_picture1.jpg Steven Olsen's Avatar

    Steven Olsen

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1727
    More than twenty years of expertise in counseling, psychological diagnosis and education
 
 
 
Chat Now With A Mental Health Professional
David Akiva
David Akiva
Mental Health Professional
167 Satisfied Customers
Counselor; Behavioral Consultant